Production will still hit over 90,000 units this year, however, down from last year's record total of 97,000, says a GM spokesman. Nor is there any immediate threat to the factory's future, he stresses, which should be secure until at least 2013.

GM's other UK assembly plant, at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, which produces Astravan alongside the Astra car, could be due for the odd idle day, but not to the same extent as Luton. Output there is being buoyed up by exports to Eastern Europe.